16:07 09 November 2016
A fuel-free engine, which was previously described as “impossible” to create may now be a step closer to reality following a series of successful tests carried out at Nasa’s Johnson Space Centre in Texas. The EM Drive does not use conventional rocket fuel or nuclear reactor instead it generates thrust by harnessing particles of light and bouncing microwaves around inside a closed chamber, which drives the engine forward.
The paper, which was leaked on Nasa Spaceflight forum and later on published by NextBigFuture, said.. ‘…for missions with very large delta-v requirements, having a propellant consumption rate of zero could offset the higher power requirements.’
Another paper, which was published in AIP Advances last month, suggested that Em Drive produces an exhaust like every other rocket.
'EmDrive works just like any other engine,' Dr Arto Annila, physics professor at the University of Helsinki and lead author of the paper, said.
'Its fuel is the input photons at microwave lengths.'
The researchers suggest the photons coming out of the machine interfere with each other, so the overall effect seems as if nothing is there.
'In the cavity the input photons will bounce back and forth, and invariably some of them will interfere completely destructively.'
'Then the two photons will be exactly 180 degrees out phase.
'At the complete interference electromagnetic fields for the two photons will cancel exactly, but the photons themselves continue to propagate.'